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[Editor’s note: Lars Hedegaard, a Danish critic of Islam, is on trial in Denmark for remarks he made regarding dysfunctions and abuse within Islamic family culture. Under Denmark’s law 266b dealing with alleged hate speech, defendants are not allowed to prove the truth of their comments and all that is needed for conviction is whether any one person feels offended. Below are his final words in the Court of Frederiksberg on January 24, 2011.]
My counsel has instructed me that in cases brought under Article 266b, the only thing that determines whether one is convicted or not is a matter of the perceived insult whereas one is barred from proving the truth of the statement.
The article deals with public statements whereby a group of people are “threatened, insulted or degraded”. But as my lawyer has already noted, I have made no public statement.
When it comes to Article 266b, there is no equality before the law. I am daily insulted and degraded by something I read or hear and I am sure that most people have the same experience.
For example, I am not only insulted and degraded and threatened, but shaken to the core of my being when I hear a well known Danish imam state that, of course, sharia law – Muslim law – will be instituted as Denmark’s official legal regime when there are a sufficient number of Muslims. I strongly urge our country’s jurists to get acquainted with the implications of the sharia, not only for Muslims but equally for non-Muslims, who – if they are lucky – will be reduced to a life as subhuman outlaws. And if one cannot be bothered with tedious dissertations, one may take a look at the legal order pertaining in areas where the sharia holds sway either de jure or de facto. One will then encounter a legal order the like of which we have not known since the passing of the Law of Jutland in 1241 and probably not before.
But the imam wants this disorder introduced in the country where I was born. And I must admit that I am troubled. I am also troubled when said imam defends the killing of Muslims who have left Islam and when he confirms that women and men guilty of fornication must be pelt with stones until they are dead. He thinks that is God’s commandment, which he cannot ignore.
Should I go to the police and tell them how threatened, insulted and degraded I feel? I wouldn’t dream of it for I support free speech. And if free speech has any real meaning, it must also – and in particular – protect statements people do not want to hear. Regardless of how revolting such statements may be.
Besides it would be futile to report the imam and those similarly disposed to the police for the public prosecutor would never indict them. Otherwise it would have happened long ago.
As jurisprudence shows, not only in Denmark but in all European countries with similar insult articles in their penal code, these insult articles open the gates to inequality before the law. There are insulted who enjoy the tender graces of the public prosecutor, and there are the less favoured who must endure insults directed at them.
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